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Jan van Eyck (1390?-1441) and his brother Hubert are traditionally credited with "founding" the Flemish school and "inventing" oil painting. This two-part program, from Harold van de Perre's Vision on Art series, studies the genius and artistry of Jan van Eyck. Part I offers an in-depth appraisal of Hubert van Eyck's only known work, the celebrated alterpiece Adoration of the Lamb, which was completed by Jan. Part II spotlights Jan van Eyck's Madonna with Chancellor Rolin, the Madonna with Canon van der Paele, and The Marriage of Arnolfini. Van de Perre discusses the symbolic meaning and breathtaking beauty of these masterpieces, and sheds light on van Eyck's technical skill and inventiveness.
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The Vision on Art series focuses on the trio of Flemish painters who frame the progression of European painting from the late Gothic through the Renaissance period. The Jan van Eyck chapter does an excellent job of tying together the other segments, Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Rubens. Like the others, this video is divided into two segments. The first part is a celebration of the masterwork of Hubert and Jan van Eyck, The Adoration of the Lamb. The second is an analysis of Jan van Eyck's use of historical themes, his technique, and his poetic message. Like the others in this series, Vision on Art: Jan van Eyck is not a primer; rather, this is a first-rate scholarly work that places the artists in historical perspective, paying special attention to the evolution of technique and attitude toward the subject matter. Specific details are underscored graphically--artificial lines are drawn to show the geometry of the paintings and works are overlapped for ease of comparison. This video stands alone as a superlative introduction to the works of van Eyck, and with the rest of the series it makes for a full study of the Flemish masters. --Brendan J. LaSalle
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